The release of the Intel Xeon Scalable Processor (Skylake) and the 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processor (Cascade Lake) brought about many new technologies that made it the most significant change to Xeon’s since the release of Haswell over five years ago. The most significant change was to the methodology used to connect the multiple cores and cache within the processor. The Xeon Scalable Processor replaces the traditional ring interconnect that was used on previous generations of Xeon with a mesh interconnect, a proven technology used on the high-performance Intel Xeon Phi processor. The mesh interconnect provides a more efficient method of managing traffic between the processor cores and reduces latency which dramatically improves performance.
Other technical improvements shared by both generations of Xeon Scalable Processor included the addition on VMB and Intel Quick Assist Technology. VMB (Intel’s Volume Management Device) resolves many of the previous issues of using NVMe in RAID configurations by allowing support for hot swap, LED error notification, and the ability to use multiple drives in a RAID configuration. Intel Quick Assist Technology is a purpose built IC integrated into the Purley motherboard chipset that handles encryption, compression, and decompression of files. These CPU intensive functions are offloaded from the processor, freeing up the CPUs resources to manage other more critical tasks.
The performance gains benefited all levels of customers who saw a drastic leap in performance and capability across a wide range of workloads. With the 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable Processor, which is backward compatible to Purley platforms with a BIOS update, customers get higher frequencies and or more cores at the same price points as their Skylake counterpart. In addition to performance gains, the 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable also brings additional benefits including support for Intel Optane DC Memory, support for faster DDR4 DRAM, new AVX-512 VNNI instructions for emerging AI applications, and hardware support to protect against Spectre and Meltdown mitigations.
These technological improvements bring greater overall platform performance to the entire ecosystem that benefits general purpose users, and are optimized for emerging specialized markets such as AI.
Key Benefits of the Intel 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable Processor
Higher Core Performance: Up to 56 Cores (9200 Series) and up to 28 cores (8200 Series), delivering high-performance and scalability for compute intensive workloads across compute, storage, and network usages.
Greater memory Bandwidth/Capacity: Support for Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory, supporting up to 36TB of system memory capacity when combined with traditional DRAM. Support for up to 6 memory channels and up to 4TB of DDR4 memory per socket with speeds up to 2933 MT/s (1 DPC).
Expanded I/O: 48 lanes of PCIe 3.0 bandwidth and throughput for demanding I/O intensive workloads
Intel Deep Learning Boost with VNNI: New Intel Deep Learning Boost with Vector Neural Network Instruction (VNNI) brings enhanced artificial intelligence, inference performance, with up to 30X performance improvement over the previous generation. Intel 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable processors help deliver AI readiness across the data center,
Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512): With double the FLOPS per clock cycle compared to previous generation Intel AVX2, Intel AVX-512 boost performance and throughput for the most demanding computational applications such as modeling, simulation, data analytics, machine learning, data compression, virtualization, and digital content creation.
Integrated Intel Quick Assist Technology: Chipset based hardware acceleration for growing compression and cryptographic workloads for greater efficiency, while delivering enhanced data transport and protection across server, storage, and network infrastructure.
Intel VMB (Volume Management Device): Resolves many of the previous issues of using NVMe in RAID configurations by allowing support for hot swap, LED error notification, and the ability to use multiple drives in a RAID configuration.
Intel Ultra Path Interconnect (Intel UPI): Four Intel UPI (9200 Series) and up to three UPI (8200 Series) channels increase scalability of the platform to as many as two sockets (9200 series) and up to eight sockets (8200 Series). Intel UPI offers the perfect balance between improved throughput and energy efficiency.